Capital Culinarian vs, GE Monogram

mamacottiOctober 18, 2010

Could someone tell me how the Capital Culinarian 48" range compares to the GE Monogram 48"? We are looking for the grill, griddle and 4 burners.

Am I comparing apples to apples here, or totally different fruits? ANY input would be wonderful, because I have to make a final decision ASAP!

Thanks so much!

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The GE Monogram is only a dual fuel range, I believe, whereas the Capital is only an all gas range. Also, the GE Monogram has sealed burners whereas the Capital has open burners. The previous incarnation or the GE Monogram was made by DCS, the company previously run by the current founders of Capital, although it is now manufactured by GE itself. You're not exactly coparing apples to apples - you need to decide what's important to you.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 12:55PM
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It really isn't an apples to apples comparison IMHO. GE Monogram is sealed burner and dual fuel. For those interested in those features, Capital Culinarian wouldn't even be a consideration. More apt comparison would be Capital Precision but even that isn't duel fuel. You'll have to look at Wolf for instance.

People interested in the Culinarian are mainly looking for open burners I think since that's the main difference between the Culinarian and Precision lines. In the open burner residential market, there is basically Capital and Bluestar. There are rumors that American Range is coming out with one but not many solid details are available yet. Wolf offers a semi-open (or semi-sealed) design that is a bit better than traditional fully sealed designs but still doesn't heat as evenly as even a basic open burner.

I think the first thing you should do is research open vs sealed burners and then look into dual fuel.. i.e. gas vs electric ovens. Then decide what combination of these fundamental designs best fit your lifestyle. That will narrow your field down to a manageable set of options.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Thank you both so much. That does help. I've wanted the dual-fuel all along...mainly because that's what I've always had. I've been pretty well convinced that I wanted seal what is the draw for those that prefer the open burners?

I definitely want it for residential use...I just want the commercial "look" and the higher heat/low heat and supposedly great ovens.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:56AM
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Sealed vs. open burners has been a hotly debated topic for a long time. Well designed open burners can deliver heat more evenly to a pan than sealed burners. Cleanup is controversial - I personally love the sealed burners on my DCS range - just wipe up after cooking and I'm done - occasionally need to clean the burner caps. Open burners require you to take them apart and drag them to the sink for cleanup and you have to deal with drip pans.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:43AM
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I agree with wiessman that the sealed vs open has been widely debated here sometimes with a fervor bordering on religious. Do a search on "sealed open burners" here on gardenweb and you'll have a flood of information.

Personally, I think that the cooking benefits outweigh any potential difficulty in cleaning. For me, lining and cleaning a drip tray is a lot easier than cleaning and maintaining a stainless steel surface. If you do a lot of saute, pan fry, or wok cooking, then open burners have a huge advantage IMHO.

If you are looking for sealed, I'd suggest researching or testing the heat distribution of the burner. The common issue with the sealed burner is the uneven heating and the distribution of heat to the edge of the pan rather than the center. That causes loss of heat around the sides as well as uneven cooking. Many sealed burner ranges have interior burner rings or other features to try and distribute heat evenly. This definitely helps but it also creates potential cleaning issues.

Ultimately, you need to decide what you want and what you need. Don't be completely driven by opinions voiced here one way or the other but.. do your research so you understand the issue. Then make an honest assessment of what is most important to you and go with it. The best looking range is maybe not the easiest to cook on but if that's what's important to you, then you should go with it.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 1:31PM
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I'm interested in the Culinarian. But not because of open burners. Because of GREAT-PERFORMING burners. What makes me believe that the burners perform great are the pictures, videos, and measurements on Trevor's site. Plain and simple. Same for the Bluestar pics and videos (since removed). The empirical evidence is there.

But "open burners" as the explanation for the performance is an inference and an over-generalization. Open versus sealed has little, if anything, to do with even heating or powerful heating. I know this because I have a 20-year-old Kitchenaid with open burners right now. VERY open. They do not heat evenly AT ALL, and I have pictures to prove it. They even have a "daisy" shape similar to the "star" of BS or Thermador, but that doesn't make them heat evenly. They're not that powerful either. The 12K burners are OK, but I frequently wish for higher heat. The 9K ones are nearly useless to me.

Let me also say that my KA open burners are MUCH MORE OPEN than either the Culinarian or the Bluestar. You can see inches of the (foil-lined, dirty) cooktop floor below. My popcorn overflowed the other day, and a whole bunch of it fell down onto the floor of the appliance. I have to take off the burner grates and rings and lift up the cooktop, like the hood of a car, to clean down there.

And don't forget, BEFORE sealed burners became the standard in residential cooktops, they ALL had open burners like mine. Those open burners did not make any of them perform like the Culinarian or the Bluestar. And the hassle of cleaning the ones like mine led to the demand for sealed burners.

So what accounts for the more even heat of the Culiarian and Bluestar versus my KA open burners? I've looked carefully at all of them (Culinarian in photos and videos only, obviously). To me, knowing that the openness doesn't make them heat evenly, it is obvious that the design of the actual flame ports is responsible for most of that evenness. The heat goes where the flames are. If you look at pics of the Culinarian burners, it's a donut shape with THREE rings of ports. Some point OUT, some point UP, some point IN. You're always going to have more heat right over a flame, so the more flames, and the more area covered by flames, the more even the heat is going to be.

I took a close look at my KA's flames, and guess what. Even though there are 6 little circles of flames in a "daisy" shape, each little circle has no flame ports on the inside. Why not, I have no idea. Flames only come out the outer part of each circle.

Scroll down Trevor's Burner page and look at the pic of the Dacor -- this is the typical single-stack ring of flames with a cap in the middle. Because of the angle the flames come out -- they really point outward -- there is more surface area of flame pointing OUT and DOWN to the porcelain surface below than UP to the pan. The Wolf (or any DUAL-stacked burner) should be better because now there are 2 rings. Some flames are at least there under the center of the pan. I've seen a triple-stacked burner somewhere, and that should be better still.

Most residential gas burners have caps on top. The cap dictates that the flames ports must point outward. This placement guarantees the heat will be like the Dacor; the flames curve around the cap; most of the flame's surface area points downward and outward; and a lot of heat is wasted. So why the caps? I figure that they are there to protect the flame ports from getting clogged when there are spills or boilovers. Trevor's site mentions cleaning the Culinarian's exposed flame ports out with a toothpick if this happens. Mfg probably know that most consumers wouldn't want to do that.

You can see just by looking at pics of the lit burners, that the Culinarian couldn't put flames everywhere it does and also cover the ports with a cap.

Bottom line, where there are flames, there will be heat. The Culiarian's donut shape with 3 concentric rings of flame, angled differently, is brilliant. It is my first choice for a rangetop.

My second choice is GE Monogram. The combination of BTUs and simmer on all burners, dual-stacked design, grate design, fit and finish, and customer service reputation puts it 2nd on my list. Bluestar might have better burners than Monogram, but its service issues are unacceptable.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Thanks so very much you guys! That helps me tremendously.

I'm sticking with my original plan, GE Monogram.

Now I have to have the battle about the fridge. GE Monogran, or Sub-Zero?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2010 at 1:29AM
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This is a good thread. Almost two years ago, I purchased a 48" GE monogram dual fuel range. Before that I had a 30" GE Profile electric slide in range, so it was quite a change. For those contemplating the decision between a Culinarian and a Monogram, it might be useful to hear what I like and don't like about the GE monogram range

What I like:
- Dual ovens. I use the small (10"-wide) oven surprisingly often. Fits standard casserole dishes and comes with a small roasting pan which is perfect for roasting small pieces of meat. Also good for keeping food or plates warm. The large oven gets a work-out too. At 36" wide, it has plenty of room for multiple items.
- multitude of oven settings. Both ovens have bake, roast, and broil settings with convection turned on or off, plus also proof and clean settings. One oven can be on clean mode while the other is cooking normally. Cleaning time can be set for up to 5 hours.
- probes: both ovens have meat probes. A small plus since one could go out and buy a meat thermometer, but this way I can see the internal temperature on the oven display and the oven shuts off and a beeper sounds when the correct internal temperature is reached.
- closed oven doors when broiling. The oven door must be closed to broil. There are oven vents that exit behind the range top at the rear of the stove that are used when broiling. This does two things: it keeps smoke from the oven out of your face and under the vent hood, and it is safer with little kids around.
- timers: two of them
low burner settings. On the 48" model, all of the range top burners are a stacked 5" burner. All are capable of reaching a low range of 140 degrees and a high range of 18,000 btu. GE has done a remarkably good job with the burners at the low range. You can place a piece of paper over a burner on low and it will not burn (I've tried it). I have melted chocolate and made hollandaise over the low burner without using a double boiler and it works like a charm. The burner is more than capable of holding a delicate sauce for hours and is also great just for keeping a single plate or dish of food warm.
- easy clean up: food does not get baked on to the range top surface very easily.
- fit, finish, design. looks good and functions well

What I would do not like:
- high burner settings: Despite being an 18,000 btu, the burner is not able to bring a pot of water to a full rolling boil without a lid, and even then it is not great. The reasons have all been given in this thread. The jets of the monogram burner (like all sealed burners) point out sideways under the cap that seals the burner. Consequently, the flames arc outwards and then upwards. When a pan is placed on top of the stove, the exit pathway for the gases forces the flame to arc even further out to the side. the result is that the flames do not come into contact with the pot, and it takes a long time for water to come to a boil. The problem is exacerbated with smaller pots because of the diameter of the burner cap. Put a 5" pan on the stove and crank it up to maximum and most of the flames are shooting out past the side of the pot heating the side of the pot, not the bottom. Put frozen vegetables in the water and the cooking time has already passed by the time the pan recovers to a boil again. Put too much meat in the frying pan at once, and the pan cannot recover to maintain a sear. Quite frankly, for high heat cooking, my 30" electric stove was far superior. It is at these high cooking temperatures when I really covet an open burner. Even at the same btu level, the monogram cannot match the Culinarian's heating properties. By comparison, I have also cooked on a Thermadore range. Their star-shaped closed burner does a much better job of delivering flame to the bottom of the pot and appears to be a good compromise between heat delivery and sealed unit.
- wok cooking. Despite having a range top specifically designed to hold a wok, the monogram is useless at wok cooking. No heat is delivered to the bottom of the wok, the wok's curved shape ensures that all heat is quickly dissipated up the side. The result is that it is impossible to stirfry in a wok on the GE Monogram (note, the 36" monogram does come with smaller diameter burners, which may be better for woks)
No infrared broiler: one of the downsides of choosing an electric oven is that there is no infrared broiler in the oven. The broiler that comes with it is pretty good, but is no substitute for an infrared.

All in all, the GE mongram is an pretty good product and performs very well for 90% of the cooking functions. Compared with other sealed-burner ranges, Monogram offers good value for money. The only disappointment is its performance at high heat, but this is really a choice between a sealed burner and an open burner..

I hope this helps

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:33PM
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SUPERB review! I wish everyone would do as thorough an analysis of the pros/cons of their appliances. Thank you!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:00AM
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I will add two things to my review of the GE monogram range above.

1) the griddle is awesome. it is stainless steel with layers of aluminum. The heat distribution is generally even although there are a couple of small hotspots near the edges. Once it is seasoned, it is virtually a non-stick surface. It is more similar to a professional flattop than what I have seen on some other ranges. After use, I scrape it clean while it is still warm with a $5 pastry cutter and then rub it with paper towel to get rid of any excess grease. Really easy. I have cooked on a thermador griddle, which I did not like nearly as much. first, it had a smaller cooking area, second, it was teflon, and after a year or two, the teflon coating started to flake off.

2) the dual fuel GE range does not have an infrared broiler in the oven, but the 36" and 48" range models can be purchased with an infrared broiler on the cooktop.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Thanks for taking the time to do that review, cnidog. Those are just the sort of details I was looking for when I was shopping for a range.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:23PM
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